Afghanistan: Hours after multination warning two bombs explode around Kabul’s airport

At least two explosions went off near Kabul’s airport in Afghanistan amid chaotic evacuation efforts.

The Pentagon said civilians and US service members were among the casualties of what was described as a “complex attack.”

A Taliban official said at least 13 people were killed in the blast, including children, and many Taliban guards were wounded. Reuters reported that as many as 5 US military personnel may have been injured, including at least one seriously.

A surgical hospital run by an Italian charity said it was treating more than 60 wounded. The attacks came after the United States and allies urged Afghans to leave the area because of a threat by Islamic State militants.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said one blast occurred near the airport’s Abbey Gate and the other close to the nearby Baron Hotel. Two U.S. officials said at least one of the explosions appeared to be from a suicide bombing.

“We can confirm that the explosion at the Abbey Gate was the result of a complex attack that resulted in a number of US & civilian casualties,” Kirby said on twitter. “We can also confirm at least one other explosion at or near the Baron Hotel, a short distance from Abbey Gate.”

The US Embassy in Kabul described “a large explosion” and said there had been reports of gunfire.

Witnesses told Reuters that there appeared to have been two separate but simultaneous attacks, one by a suicide bomber near buses lined up outside Abbey Gate, where the blast was followed by small arms fire.

The second occurred at Baron Gate, named after the nearby Baron Hotel.

The attacks came after the United States and allies urged Afghans to leave the area because of a threat by Islamic State.

A massive airlift of foreign nationals and their families as well as some Afghans has been under way since the day before Taliban forces captured Kabul on August 15 capping a swift advance across the country as US and allied troops withdrew.

The United States is in the final steps of ending its 20-year war, when the explosion was first reported, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The United States has been racing to carry out the airlift before its military is set to fully withdraw from the country on August 31.

In an alert issued on Wednesday, the US Embassy in Kabul had advised citizens to avoid traveling to the airport and said those already at the gates should leave immediately, citing unspecified “security threats.”

Afghan affiliate of Islamic State, known as Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K) after an old name for the region is supposedly responsible. ISIS-K is opposed by the United States and the Taliban.

A Western diplomat in Kabul said that areas outside the airport gates had been “incredibly crowded” again despite the warnings.